Murat Kurnaz

MURAT KURNAZ….So did everyone see the 60 Minutes segment last night about Murat Kurnaz, the German national who was picked up in Pakistan shortly after 9/11, turned over to the U.S., and then tortured and held for five years even though, apparently, there was never any serious evidence against him? The transcript is here if you missed it.

One would, of course, prefer not to believe Kurnaz’s allegations, but they seem sadly credible. What makes it even worse is this:

Six months after Kurnaz reached Guantanamo, U.S. military intelligence had written, “criminal investigation task force has no definite link [or] evidence of detainee having an association with al Qaeda or making any specific threat toward the U.S.”

At the same time, German intelligence agents wrote their government, saying, “USA considers Murat Kurnaz’s innocence to be proven. He is to be released in approximately six to eight weeks.”

In the event, he wasn’t released for several more years, and then only after the newly elected German chancellor made a personal appeal to George Bush. But why? Why didn’t they release him earlier?

One can never rule out bureaucratic ineptitude, but the more likely explanation is that they were afraid he’d tell the world about his treatment. So they just kept him locked up instead. Lovely.

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